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Is doping doing more harm than good in sports?

The recent decrease in doping causes people to rethink their stance

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In the world of professional sports, one of the most known scandals revolves around doping or using performance-enhancing drugs to get an advantage over other competitors. With the pressure to perform at the highest-level possible mounting with every year and the increasing ease of obtaining these types of drugs, the temptation to start using these drugs is worse than ever. However, with the recent development of more technology that is able to detect these drugs at a higher rate, the number of doping violations has increased significantly. Sports should be about the love of the sport and competition based on one’s natural ability, not about who has access to the best types of drugs.

Performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs, are mostly used by professional athletes to improve performance and allow them to continue performing at high levels. However, along with improving performance, these drugs can cause severe health issues. Recently, with more doctors realizing all of the health issues and communicating those to the public, the question of whether risks to the body are worth the possible performance increase has become highly debatable.

According to The National Strength and Conditioning Association, there are four main types of performance-enhancing drugs that are most common among athletes; anabolic steroids, masking agents, stimulants, and erythropoietin. Both anabolic steroids and erythropoietin use hormones made by the human body or man-made versions of the hormones found in the body to modify its natural processes. Injecting these drugs into the body can cause an increase in muscle growth or stimulate the body at a higher level depending on which drug is taken. Stimulants increase the time an athlete can perform at the highest possible level by ingesting any type of stimulant, such as caffeine into the body at extremely high levels. Since using performance-enhancing drugs in sports is currently illegal, athletes use masking agents to cover up traces of the drugs in their body. The most common type of masking agent used is one that conceals the banned substance in urine, therefore allowing the athlete to pass any drug test and continue using the steroids. Athletes spend thousands to millions of dollars to obtain these drugs and continue them throughout their career, but it seems that it is more trouble than it is worth.

Although it may seem appealing to athletes to be able to work out for long periods of time or increase their muscle growth, the side effects can be enough to cause anyone to get extensive medical care, therefore putting their athletic career on hold. Injecting anything into the body that is not supposed to be there or increasing a certain element of the body to extremely high levels will always have health risks. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, provides lists of health risks for the different types of performance-enhancing drugs, in an effort to either get people to stop doping or show others the signs to look out for. According to the USADA, some of the most prevalent health problems include insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, and arthritis. The most severe health risks include strokes, heart attacks, blood cancers, and thyroid problems. In the end, the physical toll and difficulty of taking these types of drugs do not seem to outweigh the advantages of them. More people are realizing that it is much more beneficial to keep a healthy body then be an amazing athlete.

Doping is currently illegal in sports, and there are good reasons for it. However, at this time in the world, athletes who would have never considered using performance-enhancing drugs have turned to them to be on the same level playing field as their competitors. In the past, doping had become out of hand, while today more people are being caught and are stopping. However, there is still a long way until the sport is completely clean of all drugs. If no drugs are used in professional sports, and it is merely based on natural athletic ability, it will be more interesting to watch. The use of performance-enhancing drugs can never be seen as a good idea, as it puts people’s health at risk and promotes a society of lying and cheating.


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The Voice of Wakefield High School
Is doping doing more harm than good in sports?